New Poll: Ned Lamont leads Bob Stefanowski by 10 points in CT governor's race

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 Nearly half of Connecticut voters intend to support Gov. Ned Lamont for re-election in November, according to a new poll released on Tuesday showing the Democrat with a 10-point lead over his rival, Republican Bob Stefanowski.

Lamont’s support among the poll’s respondents, 48.5 percent, was close to his showing in 2018, when he defeated Stefanowski by around 3 percentage points to win his first term. Four years later, Stefanowski’s support has dropped to 38.4 percent, according to the poll.

The poll was conducted by Emerson College through a partnership with The Hill and WTNH-Channel 8.

An earlier version of the same poll released in May showed Lamont with a slightly larger 13-percentage-point lead over Stefanowski, who has since shaken up his leadership team and brought on a new campaign manager, Stamford firefighter Pat Sasser.

Despite trailing the governor by double-digits, Stefanowski released a statement on Tuesday seizing upon the poll as evidence of a tightening race.

“As more voters focus on the race post-Labor Day and are reminded of Governor Lamont’s record of higher taxes, rising crime and attacks on parental rights in our schools, his support will continue to erode,” Stefanowski said.

In a statement Tuesday, Lamont’s campaign sought to dismiss the importance of polls as a “snapshot in time.”

“The only polls that matter are the ones that voters will head to in November, “ campaign spokesman Jake Lewis said. “In the meantime, Governor Lamont is laser-focused on governing and continuing to lead with responsible fiscal management that delivered historic tax cuts for the middle class, and record investments in childcare, education, and workforce development.”

In its most recent ad, Lamont’s team touted the governor’s bipartisan efforts on issues such as as a juvenile crime bill, while his running mate, Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz, has run ads tying Stefanowski to former President Donald Trump.

Stefanowski’s campaign, meanwhile, has turned its attention toward cultural issues with a so-called “parental bill of rights” that would give parents greater say in their children’s school curricula and limit what sports are open to transgender athletes. The leader of an outside political action committee supporting Stefanowski told Hearst Connecticut Media Group last week that its polls showed those issues resonating well with independent and unaffiliated voters.

In the most recent poll, 4 percent of respondents said they planned to support someone besides the top two candidates, an option that was not included in the May poll. The number of undecided voters, meanwhile, fell from 11.6 percent to 9.1 percent.

Lamont’s lead in the poll can be attributed to his strong favorability among respondents — 55 percent favorable to 40 percent unfavorable — as well as his perceived trustworthiness.

According to the poll, 56.7 percent of respondents said they believe the governor is more trustworthy, versus 43.3 percent who said they trusted Stefanowski more.

Similar to the results of Emerson’s poll of Connecticut voters in May, the more recent survey showed Lamont beating Stefanowski across a range of voting blocks, including both men and women, Blacks, Hispanics, whites and Asian voters.

Stefanowski’s numbers among voters between the age of 35 and 49 did improve, with the Republican leading Lamont 45.2 percent to 39.3 percent among that age bracket.

The governor led among all other ages, however, and with both urban and suburban voters. Stefanowski had more support from rural voters in both May and September, according to Emerson’s polls.

The poll was conducted between Sept. 7 to 9 among a sample of 1,000 likely Connecticut voters. The margin of error was +/- 3 percentage points.